Final Girls

Tantor Audio. Nov. 2022. 3:11 hrs. ISBN 9798765055625. $10.99. HORROR
Grant’s (In the Shadow of Spindrift House) latest novella skillfully walks a tightrope between science fiction and horror. Dr. Jennifer Webb has developed a breakthrough VR immersion technology that allows patients to confront their worst fears (or horror tropes). Journalist Esther Hoffman, who has dedicated her career to debunking pseudoscience, is skeptical of the doctor’s claim that virtual encounters with ghosts and zombies can cure people of very real psychic trauma. Esther has volunteered to explore this digitized world of monsters, but the monsters in the machine can be dangerous. Even worse, there are malevolent forces in the real world that would do anything to sabotage the project. Grant’s story incorporates clinical science-fiction and visceral horror as she moves the narrative back and forth between the virtual and real worlds. Narrator Jennifer Pickens adjusts her voice accordingly, using an impersonal tone for scenes in the real world’s lab and giving a breakneck description of what’s going on within the virtual scenario.
VERDICT Grant, a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire, has penned a vivid if brief story grounded with strong characterizations and intriguing questions about identity and friendship.
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